Surya Namaskar, which is also known as Sun Salutation, is an ancient method of paying our respect to the ultimate source of energy, the Sun. Surya Namaskar is performed in 12 postures, also called asanas, serially one after another.
In layman’s language, we can say that Surya Namaskar is something that brings all the benefits of sunlight as well as exercise that is an asana to our body.
For ages, humans have been praying to the Sun, which is the supreme source of light and energy. Among the various methods of praying for the Sun, one way is known as Sun Salutation.
These asanas originated in the early 9th century in the Hatha Yoga tradition.
What Is the Perfect Time and Manner to Perform Surya Namaskar?
You get benefitted differently from performing Sun Salutation at different times throughout the day. As per the hatha yoga tradition, the preferable time to perform Surya Namaskar is during sunrise.
This is because Sun helps in rejuvenating the vitals of the body and refreshes our mind. You get energized if you perform Sun Salutation in the afternoon, and practicing it in the evening helps you relax your body.
Surya Namaskar Performed At Various Speeds Have Various Benefits
a) Surya Namaskar At Slow Rate:
Practicing at a slow rate of speed adds to the flexibility of your body. It helps to strengthen your muscles, spine, and joints. In this, each pose is held for 1 to 3 minutes.
b) Surya Namaskar At Moderate Rate:
Practicing at medium speed helps in blood circulation. In this, each pose is held for 2 to 5 seconds.
c) Surya Namaskar At A Fast Rate:
Practicing at a fast rate helps in increasing metabolism. It also assists in the burning of calories. Performing Surya Namaskar at this rate elevates your breathing system and can also result in increased blood pressure. In this, each pose is held for 1 second only.
What Are the Various Steps of Surya Namaskar and Their Benefits?
Step 1: Prayer Pose – Pranamasana:
It helps in building focus, and curing anxiety, and mental stress.
Step 2: Raised Arms Pose – Hasta Uttanasana:
It helps to deal with asthma. Corrects back posture and cures backache and also improves digestion.
Step 3: Hand-to-Toe Pose – Hasta Padasana:
It helps in treating insomnia and headache, and also strengthens our muscles, calves, joints, and bones. It helps to fight osteoporosis.
Step 4: Equestrian Pose – Ashwa Sanchalanasana:
It increases power. Strengthens the spine and increases lung capacity.
Step 5: Stick Pose – Dandasana:
It tones the abdomen and provides strength to arms, wrists, and shoulders.
Step 6: Salute With Eight Parts/Points – Ashtanga Namaskara:
It releases tension around the neck and shoulder areas.
Step 7: Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana:
It strengthens the torso cures backache and sciatica and regulates the menstrual cycle.
Step 8: Mountain Pose – Parvatasana:
It improves blood circulation and calms the nerves. For women, it treats postmenopausal symptoms.
Step 9: Equestrian Pose – Ashwa Sanchalanasana:
It increases power. Strengthens the spine and increases lung capacity.
Step 10: Hand-to-Foot Pose – Hasta Padmasana:
Imparts flexibility to the body.
Step 11: Raised Arms Pose – Hasta Uttanasana:
It helps to cure backache and imparts muscular growth to hips.
Step 12: Standing Mountain Pose – Tadasana:
Relaxes the body.
What Is the Science Behind the Surya Namaskar?
Sun Salutation is a co-relating concept of the benefits of sunlight and asanas. Let us try to understand it in detail:
Sun is considered the supreme source of vitamin D, which keeps your skin, bone, immune system, and brain health. It plays a vital role in regulating your biological clock and helps to improve and accelerate your metabolic system.
It treats insomnia and helps in getting the right amount of sleep by releasing optimum melatonin, a sleep hormone in our body.
It plays an important role in your digestive health by assisting in the absorption of an appropriate amount of sodium and phosphates and preventing the risks of autoimmune diseases.
It also directly or indirectly help in fighting various infections, thus making sunlight one of the most useful resource.
Similarly, asanas have innumerable benefits to grant us with. It starts with increasing our overall flexibility and muscular strength. Several asanas provide an excellent posture and shape to our bodies.
It helps reduce weight and burn unwanted calories, hence, toning our entire body. It improves the circulation of blood in our body and further keeps every part of our body healthy and fit. It increases our stamina and boosts our self-esteem.
Now scientists have proven the benefits of the Sun and the 12 postures of Sun Salutation. That is, the solar plexus located behind the navel is somehow found connected to the Sun.
Thus performing Surya Namaskar also helps in enhancing the solar plexus and awakening the creative, intuitive, and leadership attributes in the individual. It also helps in boosting your confidence.
Top 10 Benefits of Surya Namaskar
Below listed are 10 benefits that you can derive from Surya Namaskar.
a) Healthy Lower Body
Performing Sun Salutation helps to maintain your lower body. It provides strength to your ankle, feet, and legs. It adds firmness to your haunches. It helps to treat sciatica and flat feet.
b) Healthy Digestive System
The gastrointestinal tract of the stomach gets activated by the stretching and compression of the abdominal muscles. It assists you in actively digesting the food. Due to the effective functioning of digestive fire, disorders like indigestion and constipation are very well treated.
c) Helps in Burning Calories
Performing asanas at a fast pace stretches your abdominal area, which helps in burning the piled-up fat in that area and helps you reduce excess abdominal fat and burn unwanted calories.
Overall, performing Sun Salutation also helps you to reduce your body weight. It also tones your abs and thighs and helps you to achieve a robust musculoskeletal system.
d) Improves Blood Circulation
The constant, prolonged inhalation and exhalation performed during the Sun Salutation help in keeping the blood oxygenated and detoxifying the respiratory system by removing toxins and excess carbon dioxide.
It keeps the lungs ventilated and manages a constant fresh flow of air into the body.
e) Healthy Hair and Skin
So the healthy supply of blood and oxygen into the body helps to achieve naturally glowing skin and stay youthful as well as the amount of oxygenated blood to the scalp increases the growth of your hair, causing fewer hair problems and giving you healthy, luscious hair.
Constant practice of Sun Salutation helps you to achieve all these goals even in old age. It prevents the formation of wrinkles on the skin by reducing anxiety and keeping the brain calm.
It increases the metabolism of various vitals, which helps to achieve healthy hair and skin. Prevents the graying of hairs
f) Calms Your Mind
Several poses of Sun Salutation help you to stimulate your nervous system and creates positivity as well as help reduce anxiety, and stress and calm your brain.
g) Enhances Your Flexibility
Various poses of Sun Salutation stretch compress and twist your body at diverse angles and parts, which helps in attaining the overall flexibility of the body.
It works on different joints, helps to extend limbs, and has a flexible spine.
h) Treats Blood Pressure
The Sun Salutation treats irregular heartbeats and maintains proper, required blood pressure in the body. It also benefits the flexibility of the heart muscles.
i) Healthy Immune System
Sun Salutation boosts your energy and keeps the body healthy. In today’s lifestyle, people tend to ignore health issues and suffer from significant disorders. It helps in the absorption of nutrients and minerals in more amounts.
An increased rate of absorption of nutrients and minerals helps in boosting the immune system of the body and prevents us from many diseases.
j) Helps With Heart Problems
Sun Salutation reduces blood sugar levels and keeps them in an optimum range, which in turn prevents heart damage and disorders like heart attack heart failure, and other cardiac problems.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar for Women
Women are the most important wheel of the carriage of this world. But there is much a woman has to go through physically and mentally.
Sun Salutation is one comfortable, peaceful, and much to gain from remedy for all the women out there. Surya Namaskar helps in stabilizing and enhancing your mental as well as physical health.
Sun Salutation helps in regulating the irregular menstrual cycle for women and solves problems related to it. Surya Namaskar ensures natural childbirth for women.
It also helps to reduce pregnancy fears and delivery. It also helps to prevent and treat metrorrhagia, which is a type of hormonal imbalance found explicitly in women.
Benefits of Surya Namaskar for Children
Well, Sun Salutation is a link to all the major muscular groups, joints, and bones of the body. So performing Surya Namaskar at a young age enhances the proper physical growth of a child’s body and adds more flexibility to the muscles and joints.
It trims out excess weight and fat, which makes the child more active. Moreover, Sun Salutation helps in reducing exam-related stress, reduces anxiety, and helps keep the child’s brain calm . It increases a child’s memory power and helps to gain confidence and self-esteem.
It plays a significant role in cultivating a child’s creativity and thinking skills, as well as developing leadership qualities in them from a very young age.
Hence, we can say that there are innumerable benefits to practicing Surya Namaskar.
This article sums up the meaning, importance, and benefits of Surya Namaskar. Yoga always refreshes one’s mind and soul.
Every day if you even practice Surya Namaskar for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening, it will make a great impact on your mind and body. Try it and find out for yourself!